A tree struck by lightening would know how I feel right now.
Summary: The summer after ‘Order of the Phoenix’, Harry is depressed and angry. And he starts thinking. Is death really irreversible?
After disappearing for a year, Harry has returned, wearing the pins that identify him as a Necromancer. The final battle is near.
Spoilers for: Books 1 to 5. (HBP never happened. Really.)
Struck By Lightning
It was a sunlit afternoon. The little girl was happily sitting on her swing, enjoying a strawberry lolly. She stared at the man walking by, at the other side of the hedge.
The odd man seemed to sense her stare. He turned around, smiling at her.“Hello, little one. What's so interesting?”
The girl took her lolly from her mouth with a muffled 'pop'. “You walk funny,” she declared.
The smile widened. “I do, don't I? What's your name, little one?”
“Mary,” the girl answered. “I'm five now, you know.” Then she suddenly remembered something. “But I'm not really allowed to talk to strangers.”
Mary felt something was wrong with the smile, but couldn't figure out what. The man was a bit scary. But monsters only came out at night, right? And the sun was very hot right now.
“In that case, little Mary, we should stop talking,” the man said.“I'm feeling rather hungry anyway.” While he spoke his face changed.
Mary screamed, but the impossibly long arms had already grabbed her.
Only seconds later her parents ran out of the back door, to see what was wrong with their daughter.
They only found her lollipop.
“I found a graveyard in the Forest.”
“On Hogwarts' grounds?”
“Yes. It's not just any graveyard either. Hermione, is there anything in'/Hogwarts, A History'/ about a Necromancer in the time of the Founders?”
“Why do you ask?”
“The graves were coded in Parseltongue. And it's not so common to put aset of instructions on each headstone.”
Hermione blinked. “That's indeed unusual.”
“I noticed.” was the ironic reply.
“Well, if there was Parseltongue on the gravestones, Slytherin must have been a Necromancer. I'll try to find something in the library -”
Harry shook his head. “Don't bother. It doen't really matter who made the graveyard, though I'm sure it wasn't Slytherin. We have to focus on the war. Our future is much more important than the past.”
He closed his eyes for a moment. The fate of the world was heavy on his shoulders. If Voldemort won...
“What are you going to do now?”
He opened his eyes. Hermione was staring at him intently, worried about him.
“I'll do what I was born to do.” I'll murder Voldemort...
When people talk about the enemy, they always “defeat” or“vanquish” them. Nobody wants to call it for what it is: murder.
In that last battle, Harry had done a bit more than just murder those Death Eaters. He had literally ripped their souls from their bodies, shred the only truly immortal part they had.
Ever since his return to the living, he had tried not to think about it. It was war. He was /supposed /to use these powers he was gifted with. They knew what they were getting into when they joined Voldemort.
“First I'll speak to everyone who's come to Hogwarts to aid in the battle.”
“And after that?”
“I'll raise the dead.”
While Harry was giving his speech, Voldemort planned his final strike. The one that would deal with every opposition he had. Wizard and Muggle.
And Harry Potter had given him the means to do it.
Summoning demons was hard work. It was much easier to create zombies.
Stronger than Inferi, but mindless. Getting spirits to inhabit them was much too tiring, and a risk. Now they couldn't decide to desert to the other side. Without a mind they were stupid and easily defeated, yes, but their numbers would make up for their lack of intelligence. The Muggles would be horrified at seeing them, so much they wouldn't fight back. And the wizards... Ah, well. Summoning demons was hard work, but once in a while he liked a challenge.
He'd strike all at once. The world wouldn't know what hit it. His plan was perfect.
With these thoughts in mind, Voldemort travelled from graveyard to graveyard, all around the world.
It was the night before Halloween.
The night before those few hours between sunset and sunrise when the pearly gates of death where wide open...
Harry felt the power in the air. It tingled on his skin, made his steps lighter. He barely kept himself from whistling a happy tune.
It was not a time to be jolly, after all. He was pretty sure Voldemort would strike on Halloween. It was the time when a Necromancer's power was the strongest.
It was also the anniversary of the death of his parents.
“I know you'll be there tomorrow, Mum and Dad,” he whispered to the stars. They twinkled at him. A breeze ruffled his hair. Two bats flew past the silvery moon, probably searching for insects. It was apeaceful night.
Last year, he'd celebrated his first Halloween as a Necromancer by summoning two souls from the afterlife. It had been memorable. He'd been exhausted for weeks afterwards, but it had been worth every painful moment. He'd treasure the experience forever. Dawn had come too early, much too early.
Perhaps he'd join them tomorrow. It all depended on how the battle would go. As long as he'd defeat Voldemort, he didn't mind dying. Death was, after all, the next adventure. He should know.
He'd made good use of the graveyard he found. He had an army, undead and wizards alike. Even a few giants and werewolves, thanks to Hagrid and Lupin, had been added to his ranks.
“You look worried,” a voice said. Luna. Who else who say something so obvious?
“I/am/ worried,” he responded. Her footsteps were soft as she joined him on the balcony of the Astronomy Tower. Her pale eyes were fixed on him.
“You shouldn't be,” she decided. Harry turned to look at her. She was wearing her famous cork neckless and radish earrings. It was Luna, alright. But something about her was... off. In his sensitive state he could feel something odd about her...
Perhaps it was the lack of dreaminess, and he was just worrying about nothing. He'd been away for a year, after all. There had been little time to talk with his friends, it was possible some things had changed during his absence...
No. His senses were clear about this. There was something of which he was sure it had always been there but he just hadn't noticed before... Wearily, he curled his hand around his wand.
Luna smiled. There was something wrong with the smile too, but he couldn't pinpoint exactly what -
“Because, Harry, you have more allies than you think,” Luna said, two slender fangs glinting in the moonlight.
“I do?” he said carefully, not letting go of his wand. It was always best to be careful with vampires. Even if they were, well, Luna. “I was under the impression your kind had joined Voldemort.”
“We haven't.” Another voice said. Harry recognized this one too, and his mind made the connection of its presence with the two bats he'd seen. Ollivander stepped out of the shadows, his silvery eyes kind. “There are three large groups in our society, Mr Potter. The biggest one is neutral in this war. Voldemort only has the rogue families. And the clan Miss Lovegood and I belong to is the one that'll be fighting at your side tomorrow.”
“That is, if you'll let us.”
Harry looked at them. He knew from his readings that only half-vampires or very old ones could go out in sunlight. They would only be able to help after sunset. Could he trust them?
Luna smiled at him, her old dreamy smile. He made a decision.
“Thank you,” he said softly, and watched as Ollivander bowed slightly and faded away. A bat passed the moon again.
Luna took Harry's hand in hers. “Don't worry,” she repeated, squeezing a little. Then she let go and turned around. He followed her with his eyes as she skipped into the Tower, and down the stairway.
Harry turned back to the sky. More allies than he thought... His army had grown again.
Would it be enough?
He let his eyes flutter closed, tasting the magic in the air.
Only time could tell.
The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives... The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies...
It stirred. The smell of dried blood was thick in the air. It savoured the sensation, before opening its eyes.
The house was dark. In the faint light that filtered through the closed curtains it could see the shapes lying on the floor, the beautiful red splattered on the walls, the ceiling...
Its blue eyes narrowed. Had it missed one? Impossible... Ah, but there it was, one of the males wasn't fully dead yet.
It moved quicker than the eye could see. The wimpering stopped. Delicious energy warmed its body.
It didn't have the time to make the kill long and slow. It had a deal with the red-eyed Necromancer, oh ye/sss/, and the deal was for today... This evening, to be exact.
It hissed. It didn't want to wait until the evening. It was strong enough to ignore the awful sun, it was strong enough to render everything on its path into little edible pieces. It wanted to. ANecromancer's blood was sweet, it remembered that from a long, long time ago... It wanted to taste it again.
The deal was for this evening. It didn't care. It wanted its prize, now, not later.
Slithering back into its human disguise, the demon left the Muggle house.
You'd expect someone to scream when they saw the man, covered in blood, walking through the streets of the village.
No one did.
There was no one left to.
Noon. Tonight it would be All Hallow's Eve. The build-up of Death Magic in the air took his breath away, but that didn't matter, since he didn't need to breathe anyway.
He hadn't been able to sleep since his return to the land of the living. He simply didn't need it. Cloaked in his magic, his skull-shaped pins gleaming, he felt as ready as he ever would be.
He just finished telling his War Council – the Order and some prominent Aurors – what had happened the night before, about the help they would recieve. Dumbledore hadn't been suprised. His eyes merely twinkled, and he'd greeted Ollivander in the way of old friends. He offered the wandmaker a seat at the War Council without any hesitation.
“Everyone's ready, then,” one of the Aurors decided. “We only have to wait until You-Know-Who attacks.”
Suddenly Harry looked up. An odd cramp went through him. “This is wrong,” he whispered. “Something's coming.”
Immediately he had everyone's attention. “Is it Voldemort?” Dumbledore asked urgently.
Harry shook his head. Another cramp went through him. It was as if something was disturbing the Death Magic in the air... Considering that magic was the only thing keeping him 'alive', that was a bad sign.
The third cramp send him to the ground. The disturbance came nearer. Within seconds it would become visible, and then...
The door swung open.
There was a lot of gasping and cursing, mixed with spells and curses. With a incredible amount of willpower, Harry managed to ignore the pain enough to look up.
There was a – creature, in the doorway. It looked human, but only if you didn't look too closely. Its eyes were blue pits. It couldn't fool Harry's senses. He knew what he was looking at.
The spells and curses didn't do anything on impact. The creature only held its head sideways, not blinking.
Dumbledore had send a curse speeding towards the creature. The force made it step backwards, but that was all it did.
“Run,” Harry whispered. “You can't deal with this. Only I can.”
“You're not alone, Harry,” was Dumbledore's reaction. “What is it? What does it want?”
“A demon... It's here for me. Voldemort must have summoned it, but how?” The information fell in place. It was obvious, really. “/Merlin/, I'm such a fool! Voldemort took my blood in that ritual, so now he's-”
He didn't get to finish that sentence, because the demon suddenly exploded into action, leaping at Harry faster than the human eye could see. Ollivander jumped at it, but even vampire speed was no match for a demon like this. It simply batted the wandmaker away with its claws, without pausing in its attack.
Harry managed to lift his wand and dagger before the demon reached him. With the speed and direction it was going it couldn't evade the dagger, and Harry planted it firmly into the demon's chest. Black-blue blood spilled out. The creature paused, glanced at the dagger as if it didn't understand what was happening, and then, with a frightening hissing sound, it threw off its human appearance.
It wasn't exactly /big/. It was more... tall, and stick-thin, with impossibly long skinny arms, both ending in claws at least six inches long. Slimy tendrils were draped all around the hideous body, tentacles oozing a pale blue liquid. In the deformed face was a hint of very, very sharp teeth.
The eyes remained the same, however. Few demons could hide the truth of their eyes.
Harry would have gasped, but didn't get the time. The demon plucked the dagger out of its chest, stared at the black blood welling up, and hissed in displeasure. Suddenly Harry found himself wrapped in tentacles, the liquid burning like acid. He screamed. It hurt!
He struggled to get an arm out of the deadly embrace. If he could get an arm free, he could use his wand, and then perhaps -
A red spell erupted against the demon's back, but the creature didn't even turn around. This had to be a high-level one... Wizard magic couldn't harm them.
Death Magic could, naturally. The only problem was getting an arm free.
Feeling the burning liquid seep downwards, sizzling through his robes, Harry desperately twisted his wand so that the tip pointed at the demon and hissed an incantation. Difficult, without the proper movement, but if it helped...
A sickly yellow light.
The demon screamed, a horrible screeching sound which made the humans in the room cover their ears and drop their wands. Harry's spell had ripped through the demon's skin, severing quite a big piece of flesh and a tentacle. In distress and angered, it didn't pay enough attention to feel Harry struggling his arms free.
Good. He could move a bit again. The acid kept burning, though, so he had to end this quick, before he was a puddle on the ground.
There were different spells to get rid of different demons. He had no idea what exactly this one was, so he'd have to try.
He managed to try three and saw them fail, before the demon took notice of him again. It brought its face close to Harry's and hissed.
The young Necromancer could feel the Death Magic in the room twisting, distorting. The curse he just released turned with the magic, went from red to purple, and bounced around the room before hitting achair.
The chair stretched its legs and ran away, impacting twice with a wall before finding the open door and disappearing.
Well. He hadn't meant to do that. But magic was the only way to deal with this thing... He had to risk it.
“Duck!” he yelled to the human occupants of the room, blasting another curse at the demon, and another. The first one suddenly twisted and headed for Dumbledore, who showed a remarkable agility for his age when he jumped to the side. The curse hit the wall, which started to heat up until the stone itself sizzled and smoked. The second one impacted with the creature... but it only turned its skin green.
The demon growled and attempted to grab Harry again, its tentacles leaking acid on everything now. It was getting more dangerous too, together with the anger of the demon. A single drop of the blue stuff burned a hole through the tick stone floor, all the way down to the classroom below, only then losing its potency.
Harry ducked to avoid the tentacle reaching for him. He did/ not/ want that blue stuff on him again, especially not now it had become so strong!
He rolled away from another tentacle, almost colliding with the melting wall. The Death magic wouldn't work properly as long as this demon was around... If only he was stronger, perhaps there'd be a way to stop the creature from twisting the magic, but his not-quite-dead body depended on the power the demon was corrupting, so he wasn't exactly at the peak of his might.
He'd have to resort to wizard magic, but there was only one curse potent enough to harm a demon.
He evaded another tentacle.
A curse he'd vowed to never use. Even when dabbling in the deepest, darkest arts, he didn't use the spell, simply out of principle.
Harry jumped to the side. The claws buried themselves in the bubbling wall instead of in his stomach. The demon howled in pain.
The curse had killed him several times, after all. And his parents... And countless others.
He rolled away from a set of claws.
But now something else would kill him, if he didn't act fast!
He pointed his wand at the demon, collecting all the emotion he could.
A green flash. A thump. Tentacles lashed out, shivered, stilled.
Harry lowered his wand, taking in the shocked wizards and witches, the melting wall, the ripped and bloody parchment everywhere.
There was a long, tense silence, which Dumbledore ended. “Is it dead?”
He was looking at the demon. Harry nodded. “It is”
He closed his eyes, feeling the acid on his skin losing its burning power now the source of it was dead. He was tired and felt filthy, outside and inside. He hated that curse.
Merlin, how he hated that curse.
The Death Magic was recovering, as was Harry. He shakingly rose to his feet, steadied himself on a piece of chair, and looked at the worried faces.
“Voldemort used my blood in his rebirth. It would seem he has learned how to use at least some of a Necromancer's powers. I don't have to tell you that this is bad news.”
Harry seemed to struggle with his words. There was an emotion in his voice that worried Dumbledore. It almost sounded as if... as if Harry had lost his drive. As if he had lost all hope.
“He's much more experienced than I am and I'm just- sorry. I – I have to go, and prepare some things.” The last sentence was stuttered. Harry didn't dare to meet anyone's eyes before he fled the room.
Sunset. Not that it mattered much. The dark clouds covering the sky had erased most lines between night and day. The only hint something changed was the clouds turning an even darker gray.
No, not the only hint. Something else was changing, and for once Harry wasn't thinking about the ever-rising power of the Death magic. Right above the Forest, something had appeared. A swarm of little moving creatures...
For a moment Harry thought it were those murdering crows again, but luckily he realised the truth before he attacked them with a spell.
It weren't crows. It were bats. Hundreds of them.
They landed in front of the lines of wizards and witches, Aurors and ordinary citizens, of giants and werewolves and even brave students.
A shimmer in the air when the bats turned into their natural shape. All the vampires were dressed similary, probably to avoid confusion with Voldemort's vampires. But Harry didn't need to see a special uniform. He knew immediately who the leader was. Only one of them truly hummed with power, the kind you could only gain by old age. It was a woman, thin and pale, who wouldn't look very remarkable in a crowd.
He bowed his head. “Milady. I welcome you and your family. I am honored you wish to help us.”
To his surprise the ancient vampire bowed back. “I greet you, Master Necromancer. The honor is entirely ours. It is not every day we can aid He-Who-Walks-In-Death.”
Harry cleared his throat, a bit embarressed. Why did she call him that? It was the same thing the Dementor Queen said to him... and he still didn't understand it.
The clouds were black. The entire sky turned sable, darkness building on darkness.
Harry inspected his army. Dressed in his battle robes – open at the front and short enough not to trip over them – with his skull-shaped hairpins and his too vibrant green eyes, he was ready for the battle.
He had been ignoring his friends for the last few hours. Ever since the attack of the demon Harry had been even more distant. His eyes were troubled and unsure, and he had evaded every attempt to talk about what happened. Nobody really understood why he reacted the way he did.
Now there wouldn't be anymore time to talk. In the distance dark shapes were taking to the air, and this time it weren't bats.
The swarms were coming closer. Harry could see the wings beating.
“Steady...” he murmured. “Don't fire any spells yet... Save those for the other threaths.”
The crows passed over the Forest, now close to their goal.
Harry took hold of his magic, and yelled in Parseltongue: “:/Now!:”/
A huge dark shape shot up from the forest and breathed fire at the surprised crows. The birds tried to escape by making sharp turns, but the Norwegian Ridgeback followed them easily. It was a very agile dragon, even for a corpse.
That would take care of the crows. Now the other thraets became visible, Apparating in at the edge of the wards.
A blind Basilisk reached the first horde of Death Eaters. There was alot of screaming, a lot of blood.
The magic in the air tingled.
With a hoarse battle-yell every single person at Hogwarts' side of the battlefield stormed towards the enemy, ready to implement all the tactics and plans their had thought up. The first spell was fired. It was a Reducto, a spell normally used on inanimate objects. On aliving Death Eater, the result was grisly.
The battle had begun.
It was going well for Harry's side. His friends were showing they hadn't spend a year doing nothing while Harry had been gone, and the other wizards and witches put everything they had in their curses. The battlefield lighted up with the glares of all the spells cast. In the darkness above and beyond the vampires and werewolves fought, while the seemingly endless amount of crows got instantly baked by the Norwegian Ridgeback and the other two dragons Harry had revived. That graveyard had been a real blessing. Harry'd found a lot of useful creatures there.
Even though everything seemed to be going well, Harry couldn't help worrying. He hadn't seen Voldemort yet. Their fortune could change.
He felt the Dark Lord before he saw him. The power of another Necromancer sang to his. Voldemort had truly found a way to unlock the Death magic in Harry's stolen blood...
“Hello, Harry.” The voice carried over to where Harry was fighting, without being hindered by the screams and banging spells of the battlefield. The Death Eater that was fighting Harry suddenly vanished in the crowd. The battling armies parted for the Dark Lord when he made his way to Harry Potter.
The serpentine face smiled. “Have you noticed the present you gave me? I find it very useful. Now I, also, am favoured by Death.”
“What, no more demons to do your dirty for you?” Harry challenged him.
Voldemort laughed softly. “No, I'd prefer to kill you myself, Harry. That demon was only supposed to... put you in the right set of mind.” He spread a hand, an old-fashioned clock dangling from it.“Untouchable,” he murmured. “True immortality. The air is filled with power. I can taste it. It keeps growing with every second, every death.” He looked up, eyes burning. “It will be /mine!/”
“It's only Halloween,” Harry replied, making sure his grip on his wand was strong enough. “At sunrise the magic will disappear again.”
Voldemort slowly shook his head. “No. I will make it not so. Right about... now.”
Harry felt the Death magic spike painfully. The power let him see what was happening –
towns being attacked by zombies, armies of them
demons ravaging wizard's homes
blood and gore and
/everywhere/in the entire world people were being murdered brutally
Harry had trouble staying on his feet. He had to put a stop to this... So much deaths...
Voldemort fired a spell at him. It was Death magic, incredibly potent right now, but since both of them could access that vast amount of power Harry blocked it easily. He replied with a Cutting Curse.
Voldemort blocked it and he switched to using Dark Magic. Harry wasn't as experienced in that, he would be less able to protect himself.
The Bone-Shattering Curse hit Harry in his left arm. He cried out softly, before reaching with his other arm in his cloak and throwing a botlle full of blue stuff at Voldemort. It was what was left of the demon's acid, empowered again by Harry's magic. An Explosion hex made the bottle break and it showered Voldemort in glass shards and flesh-eating acid.
With a hiss the Dark Lord dispelled it, but at least some damage was done.
They resumed trading spells and curses as if there wasn't a tomorrow. For at least one of them, there wouldn't be.
“Ron,/duck!/” The curse she just evaded pased over Ron's head, only a breath away from hitting him. He turned around quickly to flash her a brief smile, to show he was fine.
Hermione fought of yet another Death Eater. While many of Voldemort's followers were rather stupid and slow, not everyone of them was aCrabbe of a Goyle. A few times a simple Stupefy had been enough, but now her opponent was one Bellatrix Lestrange, who was as predictable as a thunderstorm and with as much uncontrolled power.
Hermione dodged a Cruciatus Curse and managed to hit Bellatrix with aConfundus, closely followed by a Banishing Hex that knocked the Dark witch against Lucius Malfoy, whom Ron was dueling with.
Ron was using his tactical mind to its fullest. This was a kind of chess after all, a lethal one, but Malfoy was rather predictable. He had yet to use something else than the Unforgivables, which made the choice 'dodge or shield' an easy one.
He and Hermione had kept the DA running during Harry's absence. Not with as much enthousiasm, but even in their grief Ron had convinced her that they all needed to be able to defend themselves. It was a war, after all.
All that training was really worth the time and effort, Ron mused, throwing off an Imperius and levitating Malfoy Senior up into the sky, before dropping him. The blond man hit the grond with a groan and didn't get up again.
There was no time to check if he was dead or not. Ron was immediately attacked by two other Death Eaters.
Hermione was hit with a vicious spell that left boils all over the left side of her face, and the arm she'd used to shield her eyes from it. The boils burst with every movement and blood welled up. She gritted her theet against the pain and fired a spell of her own.
Lestrange clearly hadn't expected a mere student to be such a good duelist. The annoyance when Hermione kept fighting and the anger at every spell she was hit with was clearly visisble. Suddenly the Death Eater looked up to a place somewhere above Hermione and she made a sign with her hand.
Hermione glanced up and rolled away. A bat turned nito a man during its dive and crouched on the exact place Hermione had been standing before. She stared into the cruel face.
During her rolling her wand had slipped from her sweaty hands. The pain in her arm was awful. She looked around, searching for her wand or at least something to defend her with, when the vampire leapt.
Mid-leap however, he encountered resistance in the form of Luna, who to Hermione's confused senses had appeared out of nowhere. How the small girl managed to stop a raging vampire was a mystery to Hermione, that is until she spotted the fangs in Luna's mouth.
The odd Ravenclaw threw the other vampire off and gave Hermione the chance to locate her wand and hitting the man with a Fire spell. He shrieked and started rolling on the ground to put out the fire on his clothes, where he was an easy target for Luna's punch to his head, knocking him unconscious.
Lestrange had been busy with a long winded spell Hermione didn't know. As soon as Hermione's attention shifted from the vampire to her, she let the spell fly loose.
A dark wraith-like creature shot from her wand and flew right through Hermione, makig her gasp and struggle to breathe. Black spots danced in front of her eyes.
“Expecto Patronum,” Luna's voice sounded. The evil shade fled from the Patronus. Bellatrix, angered, Conjured a dozen stakes and send them flying at Luna, who was looking at Hermione to see if she was alright.
Luckily, Hermione did notice the stakes and levitated the unconscious male vampire in their path. Lestrange reacted with a Cruciatus Curse, which Hermione dodged. Her opponent was very angry now and that cost her in concentration.
A Boiling Hex later Lestrange had dropped her wand in pain, and didn't manage to evade the next spell, knocking her unconscious. Her neck landed on a rock sticking out of the ground, and there was an ugly breaking sound.
Hermione granted herself a moment to breathe. She smiled faintly at Luna.“Thanks for saving my life just then.” She shook her head. “A vampire. How could I have missed that? That explains why you're always going on about non-existent creatures like Crumple-Horned Snorkacks. If people think you're insane already, they won't notice any other oddities, am I right? A very smart tactic.”
Luna blinked. “Thank you... I think. Though Crumple-Horned Snorkacks do exist. You shouldn't believe everything you read.”
Hermione just looked at her blankly. Well, vampire or not, it was still Luna.
A horrible screeching sound from the sky made them look up. One of the reanimated dragons was apparantly hit by something and came crashing down.
A group of Death Eaters had managed to bring down one of the dragons. Harry saw it but could barely acknowledge it, he had to concentrate on the battle itself. Voldemort was an incredible opponent, and very experienced.
Harry found it difficult to focus on the here and now, knowing all those people were dying... He had to kill Voldemort – with his death, all his zombies and demons would fall apart or be banished back to their own dimension. The killing would stop -
He ducked and an ugly spell passed over his head. There was something wrong -
He gasped as he felt the spell hit him in the back. It must have turned around like a boomerang...
His limbs wouldn't listen to him anymore as the Paralisation Hex – a stronger, darker version of Stupefy – did its work.
Voldemort walked towards him as he sank to his knees, the faintly glowing shape of Harry's soul a few seconds behind his body. It was still too tightly bound to the flesh to move independantly. There was no way he could move.
The Dark Lord looked down on him, a gleeful smile stretching his face.
“Harry Potter, this wil be your end. I know you must feel it too. There's powerful magic in the air. Can you feel Death speeding towards you, to finally take your soul?” A high, chilling laugh. “The ancient texts were right. It is quite a feeling, the death of aNecromancer. If this is only the backlash, I wonder how marvellous it wil be when the moment finally comes.” Voldemort stroked his wand. “Don't worry, my little nemesis. It won't be long before this ends for you and the world is mine.”
The Death Magic was building up to insane heights. All around the world people were being murdered by Voldemort's zombies and demons, and the residu of their deaths hung in the air, the worst kind of pollution thinkable. Yet above all that Harry could indeed sense that Voldmeort was right... There was a special tingle in the air he recognised from the other times he died. Now he knew what it meant. Death was coming to claim one of his favoured.
Again. This time Harry doubted he would be able to strike a deal. If only he could throw off the spell and move!
Voldemrot was still talking. “The first thing I'll do is kill every one of your friends and use the powers you gave me to keep their souls. There will be no reuniting in the afterlife. Even if you end up in Heaven, you will know that every single second I'll keep your friends in pain and misery.” A horrible smile. “Consider it my last gift to you.” He aimed his wand. “Farewell, Harry Potter.”
This was the end.
Death approached Harry, the power in the air so strong it was painful. Harry saw the Killing Curse fly at him as if in slow-motion, the green the same colour as his eyes...
Harry reacted a split second before it would hit him. Still unable to move, he did the only thing he could, purely by instinct. His entire soul cried out that Voldemort must not /win! /
He reached out to the Death magic, so close to him now, reached out to the magic that supported his, felt it responding, flowing into him, every cell of his being screaming when the Ultimate Power invaded them...
He reached out to it, called for it, absorbed it, became it...
The Killing Curse hit him, and sizzled out.
In the flickering light his hands appeared skeletal. A scythe appeared in those hands, its edge glowing Avada Kedavra green. He rose to his feet, easily breaking the paralisation. Lightning illuminated his face.
Voldemort stared at Harry Potter, and saw Death. “No...”
Harry swung the scythe.
The blade severed Voldemort's head nicely from his body, but the most important was the glowing, scarred thing being ripped from his body. Voldemort's soul was an ugly, misshapen thing, missing pieces here and there.
He-Who-Walks-In-Death– or rather, whom Death walked in – lifted the scythe and at an amazing speed several creatures of light appeared on the horizon, each of them with sparkling wings and carrying glowing shapes. Death's Angels, who brought the missing pieces of Voldemort's soul.
Once complete again, the scarred soul faded away.
The drop in Death Magic was noticable now the zombies and demons all over the world were disappearing. The Ministries of Magic would have adifficult time explaining all this to the Muggles.
But Harry wasn't thinking about that. He could barely think at all. The power of Death was still inside him, burning and freezing at the same time, too much, simply /too much/...
Harry fell on his knees again, dropping the scythe, the lightning flashes cradling him. “Please,” he sobbed. “Please take it back! No human can hold this much power – please take it back!”
Thunder rolled, lightning flashed.
From one moment to another, the clouds disappeared. Stars became visible, twinkling in the sky.
Harry smiled weakly when the power left him. There was one second of pure relief – then the world started spinning in front of his eyes. Everything went dark.
The battlefield was complete, utter chaos. Everywhere Hermione looked she saw Aurors, villagers and students dealing with the fleeing Death eaters. Some of Voldemort's followers intended to make a last stand, but with the death of their leader the tide had turned against them. Azkaban would be a busy place the next fifty years.
She Stunned another one of the rogue vampires. Wiping the sweat from her brow, wincing when she felt the boils sting, she turned slightly and risked a glance at Harry.
The young wizard was still lying collapsed in the dirt, shivering violently. Hermione didn't know what exactly had happened, but why wasn't anyone helping Harry? He was weakened, and any moment someone could -
A black robed man emerged from the battling wizards and ran towards Harry. The man's blond hair had escaped from his tattered hood and half of his white mask was shredded, revealing the face of Lucius Malfoy. He was holding something in his hand, something sharp and glinting.
Hermione was already running towards Harry and intoning a Stunner, but she knew she was too late. Malfoy had already reached the weakened Necromancer.
There was a flurry of black robes, a cry, a hoarse shout. One of the bodies stilled.
Hermione felt tears in her eyes. Why didn't she react earlier? She started running again, gathering her anger and sadness, getting ready to hit Malfoy with all she had...
“Oi!Stop hitting me!” a tired voice cried out.
Hermione blinked away her tears. “Harry?”
The robes moved. The remains of Lucius Malfoy were pushed aside, to reveal a pale but smiling Harry Potter.
A Harry Potter who was calmly extracting a small hairpin from Malfoy's arm. He wiped it carefully on the dead man's cloak and put it back above his ear. The small skull was nearly invisible in the mess he called his hair.
Hermione blinked. And again. “How – you said those pins were some kind of trademark! And a warning!”
“Yes,” Harry agreed. “A warning with a tiny bit of fast-acting posion. You never know when it might come in handy, after all.”
Hermione just shook her head and sighed.
The castle itself had survived the battle without any injuries, which was more than could be said about the students. There had been many fatalities.
It had been a nightmare. The Muggle world was in shambles, the Secrecy Act was a complete loss, and the death toll had been great.
But it was over. Voldemort was gone, definitely this time. There would be no coming back for him.
Harry vowed to make sure nothing like this would happen again. Ever.
Right now he was in the Hospital Wing, which had been magically expanded to fit in all the injured. Most of them had been send to St Mungo's, but they had run out of space rather quickly. The wizarding families the demons had attacked were there too.
Hermione, a pink salve on her boils, was sitting next to Harry's bed. On the other side was Ron, his orange hair completely burned off. But they were alive. As was Dumbledore, and the Weasley family, and Luna, and Neville, and many others he could call his friends. He hadn't lost as much as he'd feared. They were all alive.
And if he could believe Madam Pomfrey, so was he.
His soul and body were bound together again. No more half-deadness for him! His pulse and breathing were back, and according to Madame Pomfrey he was in topcondition, only a bit tired.
“So I can go now?” he asked hopefully. She nodded reluctantly.“Yes, you may go. I would like to keep you here for observation, but -” Harry was already out the bed and pulling on his robes. He really didn't like hospitals.
A few minutes later, Ron, Hermione and Harry were leaving the Hospital Wing. Harry's look was pensive.
“So, no more Zombie-boy, eh?” Ron broke the silence.
Harry shrugged. “Yeah, I'm alive again.”
“That's wonderful, Harry,” Hermione smiled warmly at him. “Now you can finally have a normal life, like you always wanted.”
“I guess so.” Harry smiled back. “Now I can be normal.”
And when that would become tiring... Harry fingered the miniature scythe he’d found in his robe. The tiny silver skulls glinted in his hair.
When normalcy became boring...
Harry’s smile broadened.
He could always become something /more/.